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At length with Larry Minnix: ACOs, false economies, and Paul Ryan's budget

April 11, 2011
by Kevin Kolus, Editor
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At a press briefing this afternoon during the LeadingAge (formerly AAHSA) Future of Aging Services Conference in Washington, D.C., association president Larry Minnix said that this year’s show had the most registrants in a few years—close to 1,000—because people are really engaged in the

Larry Minnix

political discussion.”

“We’re incensed about it all, and at the same time know we have to have those discussions,” Minnix said, referencing the fundamental reforms that lawmakers have proposed for Medicaid and Medicare. “Whatever is going on needs to be grounded in reality, not in ideology. And if you ground it in reality, it can be based on sound principles, not just political gamesmanship.

“So we’re hoping our members will create a sense of urgency, cause I think there’s some people over there [on Capitol Hill] who need to have a corrective emotional experience,” Minnix said while chuckling, although it’s probably one of the more poignant notes he’s made today.

But that wasn’t all. As usual, Minnix was frank in his descriptions of several immediate issues for his members and other long-term care providers at large. Read below for what Minnix had to say on: Ryan’s budget, his reaction to Ryan’s budget, a “false economy” created by cutting Medicaid/Medicare, the lawmakers who push for cuts to aging services, a new Group Purchasing Organization for LeadingAge members, and the intrigue LeadingAge members feel toward Accountable Care Organizations.

Ryan’s budget proposal

Minnix: We’ve got some serious concerns about block grants because we think they will lead to lower Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes. And we believe people ought to stay at home as much as possible, but you cannot get away from the need for really good nursing homes in this country. There are some people who cannot be cared for at home and block grants will continue to put pressure on Medicaid programs—and most of them have. We believe we can make the case that if you continue to put pressure on Medicaid reimbursement, you’ll make costs in the rest of the healthcare delivery system go up, not down.

Our basic approach is, 'Helping people is the solution, it’s not the problem.' And what [Ryan] has on the table we think is, however well-attended, going to make things worse instead of better.

Reaction to Ryan’s budget

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Kevin Kolus

Kevin Kolus

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www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kevin-kolus

Kevin Kolus wrote for Long-Term Living when he was an editor. He left the brand in 2012...